In what has now become an annual ritual, a group of hundreds of neo-Nazis attempted to march on Dresden's city center to crash commemorations of the 1945 Allied bombardment of the eastern German city, and were blocked by a human chain of thousands of anti-fascist activists. Some 13,000 anti-fascists linked arms in a chain stretching form the Elbe River to the city's historical city center, preventing an estimated 800 Hitler nostalgists from proceeding with what they billed as a "funeral" march, with propaganda about a "bomb holocaust." An estimated 25,000 people perished in 37 hours of Allied aerial boming that started Feb. 13, 1945. The official commemoration was presided over by the Dresden mayor and Saxony governor, both of the center-right CDU, and attended by US, Jewish and church representatives. It ended in a march to the city's Heide cemetery, where white roses were laid on the snow-covered ground for all victims of the war.
This year, the conflict over the Dresden commemoration comes amid a scandal over apparent official negligence concerning the emergence of an armed neo-Nazi organization, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), which has now been implicated in the deaths of 10 immigrants, as well as bombings and bank robberies. Authorities had initially blamed the attacks on organized crime. (Voice of Russia, Feb. 14; DW, The Lede, RT, Feb. 13)
On Feb. 11, two events were held in Budapest, where far-rightists fondly recalled the last stand of Nazi and Hungarian soldiers at the city's Buda Castle as the Soviet Red Army advanced in 1945. One event drew leather-clad skinheads; the other more genteel followers of the right-wing Jobbik political party, many in military uniforms, and including a member of parliament. Speakers at both railed against the "Zionist world power" and the "globalist world order." A group of some 20 anti-fascist counter-protesters were separated from the neo-fascists by a police cordon. (Politcs.hu, Feb. 11)